5 Surprising Benefits of Avoiding Dehydration
Did you know that staying hydrated can boost your productivity? That’s right avoiding dehydration has the power to improve the way you work. But that’s just one of the surprising benefits; drinking water has also been linked to increased weight loss, proper kidney function and much more.
1. Hydration Boosts Brain Power
Water plays an important role in brain function. So it’s no surprise that even slight dehydration changes the way that we think. In fact, a 2012 University of Connecticut study found that mild dehydration – 1 to 2 percent – caused a decrease in cognitive function for young men and young women.
The study found that young men were more likely to experience difficulty performing mental tasks, “particularly in the areas of vigilance and working memory.” Mood changes were also associated with mild dehydration, according to the study, especially for young women. The female participants were more likely to experience anxiety due to mild-to-moderate dehydration.
Why does that happen? One Vanderbilt study found that drinking water increases sympathetic nervous system function – that’s the fight or flight response. Thus, one reason for the boost in brain power is that when we’re hydrated, the response makes us more alert.
2. Drink Water for Proper Digestive Health
Your digestive tract needs water to function properly and move food waste through the body. In fact, dehydration can cause chronic constipation. This happens because when you’re dehydrated your stools become drier, harder and more difficult to pass. That’s why the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggests that drinking water and other liquids can help normalize bowel function.
3. Dehydration Can Cause Fluctuations in Blood Pressure:
Both high and low blood pressure can be a direct result of dehydration. For instance, when you’re dehydrated, the ratio of sodium in your blood increases. This increase causes the kidneys to work harder to remove waste, and in turn, your blood pressure rises.
Low blood pressure, on the other hand, is also related to lack of water in your system, because dehydration can cause a decrease in blood volume, resulting in decreased pressure in the blood vessels.
4. Hydration Helps You Diet.
One thing’s clear: Water is a zero-calorie drink. Therefore, when you drink water instead of a soda or fruit juice, you’re avoiding unnecessary calories. But drinking water might also help you feel fuller.
A 2010 Virginia Tech study found that dieters who drank two 8-ounce glasses of water before a meal ate roughly 75 less calories per meal. Those calories added up quickly. During the 12-week study period, the group that drank water before meals lost about 5 more pounds. (Read more about hydration and weight loss on the DripDrop blog).
5. A Cure for Mid-day Fatigue?
Have you ever crashed at work in the afternoon? If so, dehydration was probably a cause. Fatigue and tiredness are common symptoms of dehydration, and this has been observed in several studies. Even mild or moderate dehydration – which is indicated by the feeling of thirst – causes decreases in alertness and concentration, a direct result of fatigue.
Additionally, dehydration impairs worker productivity. According to one study, forest workers who were just 1-percent dehydrated experienced a 12 percent drop in productivity, compared to their hydrated colleagues. Therefore, more substantial dehydration could represent a drop in productivity of 20-30 percent.